It was a day off from school.

But not from instruction.

In fact, the Class of 2023 Senior Summit was filled with information and advice from beginning to end.

An annual event since 2010, this year’s summit at GRPS University saw the majority of the district’s 740 expected 2023 graduates in attendance.

Things kicked off with GRPS Counselor Coordinator Emmanuel Armstrong welcoming seniors and getting them hyped up, calling out each GRPS high school and urging the seniors from those schools to “make some noise.”

After some words about logistics and how the day would go, Armstrong then turned the microphone over first to Dr. Brandy Lovelady Mitchell, the new Deputy Superintendent of PreK-12 Academics and Leadership, and then to Dr. Leadriane Roby, GRPS Superintendent.

Lovelady Mitchell talked to the assembled students about her own high school journey, including her 1991 graduation from Ottawa Hills High School and then her anxiousness about what would come after high school.

“I knew I wanted it (to go to college),” she said. “But I didn’t know how to get there.”

She encouraged the students to use the people around them such as family, staff and educators to guide them toward what’s next.

And she encouraged them to remember that “the sky is the limit for the great human you will be.”

Roby was equally encouraging, sharing with the Class of 2023 a piece she’d read that advised the best ways to plant a daily living garden.

Such a garden, she said as students smiled, would include things like peas (peace of mind, heart and soul) and squash (squash gossip, indifference, grumbling and selfishness) and lettuce (lettuce be faithful to our beliefs and values) and most importantly turnips (turn up for school, for service and to help others).

Students then watched some of their classmates do a mini, mock graduation ceremony, complete with gowns, announcements and applause before heading out to 22 breakout sessions on such topics as:

  • 3 Cs: Cost, College and Campus
  • Athletics After High School
  • Careers in STEM
  • First Generation College Students
  • HBCUs and You
  • Keep It 100
  • Life at a Community College
  • Sorority Life: In and Out of College
  • Your College Success Squad

Armstrong noted that the opening sessions and all of the breakouts were carefully planned to help GRPS senior scholars become more aware and more informed about the many post-secondary options that are available to them.

“This is an important event for the entire GRPS school community,” he said. “We partner with local businesses, employment agencies and local colleges to deliver content that is beneficial for graduating scholars.”

A graduate of Detroit Public Schools, Armstrong has been with GRPS for two decades and said he loves helping district scholars realize their full potential. The Senior Summit is for him one of the year’s regular highlights.

“I am so proud when I see our scholars interact with professionals from higher education, the National Guard and with their peers from other schools within the district,” he said with a big smile.